World stock markets plunged Thursday as more big job losses in the US further diminished hopes that the world's largest economy would soon be growing again and a leading rating agency warned that Britain may face a downgrade to its debt rating.
In Europe, Germany's DAX dropped 138.27 points, or 2.7 percent, at 4,900.67, while France's CAC-40 fell 85.96 points, or 2.6 percent, to 3,217.41. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares slid 122.94 points, or 2.8 percent, to 4,345.47.
In the US, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 151.97, or 1.8 percent, at 8,270.07 while the broader Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 17.38 points, or 1.9 percent, to 886.09.
Investors around the world were shaken Wednesday by the US Federal Reserve's warning that the US economy was likely to contract by between 1.3 and 2 percent compared with the earlier estimates of 0.5 and 1.3 percent, according minutes of the Fed's rate-setting panel. The Fed's policymakers also said the unemployment rate could approach 10 percent.